Wayne L. Firestone has announced he will step down as President and CEO of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life.
Firestone, who has worked for Hillel for more than a decade, with seven years as the chief executive, will stay in place through June 2013 in order to ensure a smooth transition with his successor.
In a message to Hillel lay leaders and staff, Firestone wrote, “The organization is poised to grow to a new scale, in order to accommodate the rapid growth in student participation in the United States that we have driven over the past several years (from 33 percent to 45 percent student involvement from 2005 to 2012, according to a formal study). This effort will require strong senior leadership and new financial resources.”
Thomas A. Blumberg, Chair of Hillel’s International Board of Directors, stressed that Firestone’s legacy as President will be that “Hillel’s “brand” and relevance to Jewish university students is remarkably stronger today than when he took over the leadership. By every measure, the innovative peer-to-peer approach he championed has resulted in higher student involvement with Hillel than we have seen in decades, and in many more students seeking to deepen their Jewish identity and skills. For growing numbers of Jewish students, Hillel is no longer their parents’ movement but one they relate to and call their own.”
“If there was ever a moment when a change of leadership would be least disruptive,” Blumberg also said, “it is at this important turning point in the life of the overall Hillel movement. Wayne led Hillel during a period of extraordinary innovation. Now that much of that innovation has borne fruit, we will – following the roadmap in our recently passed five-year strategic plan – move to a phase of bringing the new engagement approaches to more campuses and students and deepening them where they have already succeeded.”